Career Tails

Associate Spotlight: Les O.

Tell me about your career path prior to Nestlé Purina.

I come from an agricultural background being raised in North Dakota. I grew up learning how to buy and sell livestock, grains, machinery etc. – that unknowingly would benefit me later in my career. It also led me to become a cattle auctioneer in my teen years. From there, I enlisted in the United States Army for several years prior to joining Purina.

What made you choose to work for Purina after transitioning to civilian life?

After transitioning from the military, I was looking for a stable company to work for. It was important for me to begin a career at a company that provided good benefits and stay at a company that provided me an opportunity to grow. I attended several job seminars prior to my transition, so I was confident in what I had to offer.

Tell us about your job and responsibilities at Purina. Did anything surprise you in your new role?

I am the Senior Buying Coordinator in our Denver factory, so I am responsible for ordering packaging supplies and ingredients. I work closely with a large number of vendors to ensure the factory has what it needs to maintain its production schedule. One thing I have found surprising is the need to think big-picture and multitask. For example, in the winter months I check the weather reports across the nation, not just in my state. I coordinate the inbound carriers for the materials I order, so it is important that I understand if the carriers have safe routes to get here on time.

Can you share more about your military career and how the skills you learned transferred into a civilian career?

The skills I took with me into a corporate career are several. The military not only taught discipline, but focused on developing managerial and planning skills. The military depended on my ability to plan ahead; and that is no different here. Our employees depend on me to have the supplies and ingredients to meet their production demands. A lot of behind-the-scenes logistics and coordination go into making sure they are on hand.

What advice would you give to someone preparing to transition out of the military?

The advice I would share is twofold; look for a company that will challenge each aspect of your training and make sure the company's values align with your own. Growth is important. The military is based upon rank and order. Be clear on what is important to you when interviewing, like advancement opportunities. In turn, ask yourself 'do I have the abilities to be a good leader and team player'?

 

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